Enable Session Snapshot and Periodic Backup Box Unchecked

  • Hi, the thread at Running multiple instances of Notepad++ with regular autosave kind of turned into an editorial on unsaved “new 1” tabs before the issue at hand was addressed.

    I’d like to revive the discussion about the “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” checkbox becoming unchecked. It doesn’t seem like a desirable behavior, regardless of how the feature is meant to be used.

    I rarely use multiple instances of NPP. Every time I do, the session snapshot and periodic backup box becomes unchecked. Re-checking the box restarts backups immediately, and in the specified directory, but the box comes unticked after an indeterminate amount of time regardless of whether I’ve opened a second instance of NPP since the last occurrence.

    I’m glad to provide more information.

  • If you are running (as you said in the old thread) with -multiInst -notabbar -nosession, then “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” will turn off for that instance. But once you’ve closed that instance (or those instances) and started a new single-instance, it should go back to using the session snapshot / periodic backup. At least, it has worked just fine for me the few times I fire up a multiInstance/nosession.

    If it doesn’t go back to your main settings, you’ll probably have to find a repeatable sequence of events that triggers the bug every time. Posting that sequence here, we might be able to tell you what you’re doing wrong, or interpret the “why” it behaves the way it does. Barring that, we may be able to give you a workaround. If you post it to the official issues page (see this FAQ for more info), with enough detail, and if it’s a repeatable bug, it might get fixed.

    My first gut-reaction guess is that after you’ve opened the -multiInst -notabbar -nosession, then you do something which edits (and saves) the main settings in the nosession version. If your settings get saved with the -nosession flag, then of course sessions (and thus session snapshot) will be disabled on all subsequent runs. You might be able to watch %AppData%\Notepad++\config.xml for modifications (the snapshot checkbox seems to be in <GUIConfig name="Backup" ...>'s isSnapshotMode="no" or "yes" attribute; the Remember Current Session setting seems to be stored in <GUIConfig name="RememberLastSession ...>"). If confirmed, then my advice would be “don’t change settings that get stored in config.xml if you’re using multiInstance/noSession mode”.

  • Here’s what I’ve found. (I have no command line arguments running)

    Open two documents
    Right click on the tab of one document for the context menu
    Pick “Move to New Instance”
    Close the original instance
    Close the new instance
    Reopen NP++
    “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” is now unchecked

    If you view the setting in both the original and new instance before closing anything, the setting is checked in the original and unchecked in the new.

    If you close the new instance first, then close the original instance, the setting remains checked.


  • So I’ll ignore the real topic of this thread, but maybe I won’t go totally off-topic…

    I’d like to ask what people find so useful about being able to run multiple instances of Notepad++. Okay, so there might be some obvious things about this (that I should know and in reality likely do), but I’m gonna “play dumb” and see what people respond with, if anyone cares to.

  • @Steve-Hoyer ,

    Thank you for the clear sequence: I was able to reproduce your issue with 7.5.8 32bit. You are right, that does seem strange behavior.

    I believe I can interpret it: the original was opened with session-snapshot enabled (obviously). When you split out a tab to a new instance, NPP probably internally used the -multiInst -nosession settings. So now you’ve got two instances of NPP – the original with session, and the new without session. When you close the original, it compares its settings with the config.xml, doesn’t see a difference, so just exits. When you close the new, it compares its settings with the config.xml, sees a difference, saves a new config.xml with session-snapshot disabled, and exits. Thus, when you reload, it now has session-snapshot disabled.

    I am not sure there would be a way to fix this, because I am not sure how NPP could tell the difference between “I was intentionally opened with -nosession, and my user wants me to save that setting for the future” (which is the current behavior), and “I was unknowingly opened with -nosession, and my user will be very confused if I save that setting for the future”… because really, all NPP knows is “I have sessions disabled, the config.xml claims sessions are enabled, so I need to overwrite that setting to match my current state.”

    If you want the developer to have a better chance of finding out about this , I would suggest following the instructions in this FAQ to make an official bug report. Feel free to link to this topic, and/or quote my interpretation paragraphs. I’m not sure how a compromise could be made between the two reasons for the internal state, but the developers, knowing the guts of the program much better than I, might be able to come up with something.

  • @Scott-Sumner I use it this way periodically to compare to files visually on screens, side by side. I often use the compare plug-in too, but sometimes I need to have two separate windows.

  • @PeterJones Now that I’ve nailed down the ‘why’ and the ‘how to avoid’ and the ‘how to fix when I forget to avoid’, I understand the why and feel content.


  • @Steve-Hoyer

    I use it this way periodically to compare to files visually on screens, side by side

    Have you tried the secondary view feature to keep things within a single instance? (Right-click a tab and choose Move to Other View).

  • Apologies for commenting on a 6 months old thread but after trying to figure out what was going wrong with my notepad++, I came across this thread which finally made me figure out the issue and made me realise I have an alternate use case that is probably worth highlighting.

    I make heavy use of Phabricator coupled with git for version control. As part of this, whenever I create a new change request for a repository, I have to run the command arc diff from gitbash on my Windows computer. This will open a text editor of my choice where I: fill in details of the commit, save and then close the text editor.

    Per https://secure.phabricator.com/book/phabricator/article/arcanist_windows/ to configure notepad++ to be used as my preferred editor I have to setup arc diff to run the following command:

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -multiInst -nosession

    For a while now I have noticed the “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” option will randomly un-tick itself wiping out my unsaved files. I have been unable to determine why this is happening for ages however this thread had made me realise that it is my frequent running of the arc diff command which is causing the option to un-tick.

    The following use case is causing it to happen:

    1. Close notepad++ with multiple unsaved documents and the backup option ticked
    2. run arc diff command from gitbash (which will implicitly run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -multiInst -nosession)
    3. Save and close the opened notepad++ window
    4. Reopen notepad++. The unsaved documents will have disappeared and the backup option is now unticked

    I therefore need some advice from this community as to how to resolve this. The way I see it I have 2 options:

    1. Find a way to modify the notepad++ command so that it doesn’t break my normal notepad++ setup
    2. Submit a bug request to prevent the running of the above command from breaking my normal setup.

    Is anybody able to advise what my best option here is?

  • Welcome to the Notepad++ Community, @mjslowe.

    I think we’re more likely to

    Find a way to modify the notepad++ command so that it doesn’t break my normal notepad++ setup

    I say this because Notepad++ is really more designed to either always be used with sessions, or never be used with sessions. To try to mix the two behaviors is risky.

    The two ideas I would try, if it were me having this problem:

    1. Does the arc diff work if you just set it to a normal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" without the -multiInst -nosession options? Because that way, Notepad++ wouldn’t be changing between the two modes and getting confused.

    2. My second idea would be to grab a second copy of Notepad++ – this time, the “portable” (the zip or 7z file from the downloads page), and put it in a different location. You could then have your normal notepad++, with all the file associations, stay on the installed copy; you could then point arc diff to the portable copy, which would always be opened in -multiInst -nosession, so it wouldn’t have any change of state there, either.


    Some unsolicited advice: You said,

    Close notepad++ with multiple unsaved documents and the backup option ticked

    My unsolicited advice to you would be to not rely on long-term “unnamed” file storage. Taking ownership and control of your own files, including backups and version control, is something very important; there are times when events outside of Notepad++ control will cause the Notepad++ “unsaved file” saved location to be corrupted, and you may lose data. My personal advice is save early, save often; commit early, commit often. This is not something that’s unique to Notepad++; I have had the auto-saves by MS Word get corrupted when something goes wrong with Windows. Basically, if you are not in full control of your saves and your backups/version control, there is always the chance that a random Windows issue will cause data loss, whatever application you are running to manipulate the data.

  • Thanks for the response @Peter-Jones

    I had a go at changing the arc diff command to only run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" however Phabricator did not like this at all.

    The file for the commit opened in my already open notepad++ window but when I tried to save, it complained I needed to reopen notepad++ so that it was running as Administrator. I reran the test with notepad++ opened as Administrator but when I tried to save, it simply stated “Save Failed: Please check if this file is opened in another program”

    I then tried to modify my command to run as "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -multiInst. This was technically better in that I was able to save my commit however, in this case it opened an additional copy of all the files I already had open in notepad++ (including both saved and unsaved documents). I then had to close not just the tab for the commit but the entire window containing the additionally opened copy of all my files. As such this doesn’t seem like the preferred option either.

    The above 2 tests probably explain why the recommended command from Phabricator included -multiInst -nosession in the first place.

    With that ruled out, I will take a look at using portable notepad++

  • To confirm, installing an additional copy of notepad++ seems to work though it very much feels like a workaround.

    The point at which I need 2 installations of notepad++ on my computer to ensure running the arc diff command doesn’t disable backups makes me think I would be better specifically setting arc diff to use an editor other than notepad++ (eg vim which is pre-installed with gitbash)

  • @mjslowe said:

    though it very much feels like a workaround.

    Yes, this is the Community forum – the community of Notepad++ users. This isn’t the feature-request/bug-report tracker (see the FAQ for that).

    Your application didn’t work with Notepad++, so I provided some potential workarounds.

    As another alternate workaround, instead of the portable Notepad++, create a shell script / batch file, and use that as the editor asscoiated with arc diff. The script would need to look something like the following .bat file:

    @echo off
    rem backup the config files
    copy "%AppData%\Notepad++\config.xml" "%AppData%\Notepad++\config.xml.arcdiffbak"
    copy "%AppData%\Notepad++\session.xml" "%AppData%\Notepad++\session.xml.arcdiffbak"
    rem run notepad++ for the commit message
    rem    this is a blocking-instance, so the commit will wait for this instance of notepad++ to be exited
    "c:\program files (x86)\notepad++\notepad++.exe" -multiInst -nosession %*
    rem restore the config files
    copy "%AppData%\Notepad++\config.xml.arcdiffbak" "%AppData%\Notepad++\config.xml"
    copy "%AppData%\Notepad++\session.xml.arcdiffbak" "%AppData%\Notepad++\session.xml"

    This creates a backup of your current config, runs notepad++; then, when you close notepad++, it will copy the backup config back.

    I just used my command-line version of TortoiseSVN (which, like your Arcanist User Guide, wants an editor in blocking mode), and verified that the script above will properly be in blocking mode, and will make sure that it restores config.xml and session.xml to the pre-existing version once the temporary instance of Notepad++ is done.

    Good luck.

  • PS: and thanks for prompting me to create that batch file… I’d not known (or forgotten) that the -multiInst -nosession put Notepad++ into blocking mode, so I hadn’t set Notepad++ as the editor for SVN; because of this, I am now able to. :-)

  • Thanks for the bat script suggestion.
    I will have a look at that as an alternative. If I can’t get that working I will probably stick with the 2 notepad++ installations
    It looks like there are multiple issues raised in github for this by the way (https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/notepad-plus-plus/issues/4648) so we may get a permanent fix for it.

  • I got caught up in this unexpected behavior, too.

    For me, the steps were:

    1. I use git on Windows, and the recommended solution for making git work with Notepad++ is:
      $ git config core.editor
      ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe’ -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin

    2. I would keep Notepad++ open all the time with multiple unsaved .txt files. I love this feature, that I can use Notepad++ as a scratch workspace, and that my session and edited text files are always backed up and can be restored in case of some sudden Windows crash or restart. It’s the #1 feature of Notepad++ to me.

    3. Something would cause me to close Notepad++, like restarting Windows or having a mandatory Windows update that forcibly closed all apps.

    4. Upon restarting Notepad++, my session was gone and the “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” setting was cleared. I would have to find where Notepad++ was keeping my backups and I would carefully restore my session by hand. This would make me want to give up on Notepad++ and stop recommending it to others.

    So, before giving up for good, I’m glad I found this thread. Unknowingly to me, the “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” setting was getting cleared by using git.

    Suggested solutions:

    1. What if the -nosession flag caused the “Enable session snapshot and periodic backup” user preference to be disabled in the Preferences dialog box, and that this preference would not be persisted by this instance of Notepad++ (thus preserving the original value in the persisted user settings file)? OR
    2. What if the -nosession flag did not save user settings at all and the user preferences dialog was disabled? OR
    3. What if the -nosession flag caused a special no-session set of settings to be saved/loaded to/from a special “no-settings” user settings file?

    With the way things are now, as I see it, no one should use Notepad++ with git.

  • welcome to the notepad++ community, @Ron-Little

    as -multiinst and -nosession is incompatible with session snapshots and periodic backups, the best practice is, to keep your installed notepad++ as it is, and to use a secondary portable notepad++ for git.

    • download the notepad++ 7.6.6. portable version from >>> here <<<.
      (the portable version does not require any installation and runs completely independent and isolated from your installed version. all custom settings, as well as any stuff you might want to try at the portable version, will not modify your installed version)

    • extract npp.7.6.6.bin.zip to e.g. C:\PortableApps\Notepad++.

    • open the C:\PortableApps\Notepad++ folder and start this portable version by double-clicking on notepad++.exe inside this folder.

    • make all settings you need at this portable version.

    • use ‘C:\PortableApps\Notepad++\notepad++.exe’ -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin as your command line.

    this way your installed notepad++ never gets touched, as the additional portable version is completely self contained.

  • @Meta-Chuh Thank you for the work-around of using a portable notepad++ for git. I would expect that to work, but I haven’t tested that, as I had already switched to using Notepad.exe for git.

  • I have had this problem for quite some time but have never bothered to go after it.

    Today, after once again losing a few scratch texts because of this ongoing issue, I have found this thread and also a few related open issues on Notepad++ Issues tracker:

    This is particularly unfortunate because Git installer for Windows itself actually offers to set up Notepad++ as the default editor for commits.

    Setting up a portable version just for this seems a bit too much, also it would then be annoying to manually keep both Notepad++ configurations in sync. It is sad, but I have decided to do the same as @Ron-Little and simply use Windows’ Notepad.exe for Git and avoid this problem altogether.

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